MELBOURNE, Australia — It was the match that broke a 22-22 tie, and it started out as a mismatch. Though Roger Federer ended up saving face Thursday and even winning a set, he once again could not summon the consistent brilliance necessary to defeat Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic’s 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory, which began outdoors and finished under a closed roof, put him back in another Australian Open final, where he will face the winner of Friday’s semifinal between Andy Murray and Milos Raonic.
Djokovic, the world’s No. 1 player, has perhaps never played as well against anyone as he did in the opening phases of this semifinal.
There were aces, backhand winners, forehand winners and full-swinging passing shots on the line off the full stretch. Above all, there was supreme precision and assurance from a master…